Since 2017, Real Estate Webmasters has shifted from SEO-focused websites toward real estate branding websites focused especially on enterprise clients. During this time, they have rolled out their new Renaissance platform, won a host of design awards, and impressed a number of high-profile enterprise clients.
There is no doubt that REW retains its advanced SEO chops and continues to drive huge traffic and leads to some client websites.
The rub is that the nature of website development usually requires developers to choose EITHER driving loads of organic traffic OR creating a clean, gorgeous branding site.
Later we will look at a sample REW website that demonstrates the company’s SEO skills. We will also break down a luxury website that drives much less traffic but is a clear example of an expertly-branded website.
Unfortunately, Real Estate Webmasters has also earned a high volume of very negative reviews. It would SEEM that the new prioritization of enterprise branding sites has created a vacuum where lower-profile teams have suffered.
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What Does That Mean For You?
To put my review in a nutshell, I would say that large teams of luxury brokers with huge budgets can probably expect a beautiful branded website with a seamless client experience. You might get a fully functioning site in a week plus an invitation to the REW campus.
While the monthly licensing fees are fairly expensive, they are also in line with other custom real estate website companies like Sierra Interactive or Luxury Presence.
However, if you are a small or medium-sized team, proceed with caution. Based on the numerous client testimonials online, there’s a decent chance you may get steamrolled by the red carpet REW rolls out for its biggest clients.
You may have to wait several months for a website and then months longer for revisions. At $200/hour, custom SEO and development work will be expensive. Customer service may fall by the wayside the moment you’ve signed the 3-year contract.
Finally, you will not own your website, which means you will lose everything if you move to another service provider.
Real Estate Webmasters Pricing
Here are the standard pricing plans for Real Estate Webmasters clients. Listed below are the monthly licensing fees, or the cost of leasing your website from REW.
In addition, you will usually pay $5000+ for the website build, plus $200/hour for additional custom work or SEO work.
Of course, you’ll also pay additional fees for PPC management.
Based on my conversations with a REW sales representative, they offer a standard pricing structure, a Spring Promotion, and a Fast Track Promotion.
The promotional pricing plans below are for the Launch Platform. They are accurate to the best of my understanding based on conversations with a sales representative, but they may not be perfect.
- Standard Pricing: $5000 Basic Setup + $500/month + $200/hour for Custom Work
- Fast Track Promo: $1000 Basic Setup + $500/month + $200/hour for Custom Work
- Spring Promo: Free Basic Setup + $1000/month + 135 Hours of Custom Work
All Custom Work (Including SEO): $200/hour
Additional Fees for PPC Management
*All contracts are a minimum of 3 years, and clients do not own their websites.
Real Estate Webmasters Reviews
Online reviews can be difficult to interpret. For example, my Head of Content has turned down many freelance jobs writing fake positive reviews for companies with poor reputations.
Unfortunately, the practice of whitewashing an online presence is all too common.
I’m not saying REW has done that. What I’m saying is that negative reviews can be far more telling than negative reviews. REW has plenty of positive reviews, but from my perspective, they also have one of the largest body of highly critical reviews.
Negative Client Testimonials
Typically, clients complain about the same issues. Many reviews cite extremely poor customer service and sleazy business practices. It seems REW has a very long custom work queue, and they sometimes take a very long time to deliver on their promises.
Another theme is an immediate change in the way REW deals with clients once a contract has been signed. Contracts are a minimum of 3 years, making them very expensive to break. You can read a few typical critical reviews below.
As you can see, these critical reviews aren’t just disappointed. They are scathing.
Take special note that REW’s business model is pointed toward enterprise clients. If you aren’t a large firm or agency, tread carefully. It seems there’s a much higher chance you will receive very poor customer support.
Positive Client Testimonials
They also have plenty of positive reviews. They have received 4.8 Stars on g2 and 4.5 Stars on Google. For sure, they have lots of success stories from satisfied clients who have earned solid ROIs. No doubt, they can build beautiful websites, and they have loads of SEO expertise.
Not every client gets SEO results, but that will generally be the case for any website provider. Individual results will always vary depending on budget, target market, real estate niche, etc.
Often customers praise REW for a seamless onboarding experience and SEO-friendly custom websites. The question is not if Real Estate Webmasters can provide a great customer experience, but if they will. Then it’s a matter of when. Check our the typical positive reviews below.
Again, enterprise clients and those willing to spend $100K or more probably have a better chance of getting an excellent product on time and without headaches.
Real Estate Webmasters Lawsuits
REW has been involved in at least 4 lawsuits in recent years. You can check out the details in the links below.
These are only the lawsuits that I could find proof of online. Whether there have been more, I don’t know. It’s my opinion that this amount of lawsuits is not a positive sign in terms of a company’s business ethics.
Generally speaking, if I pay for a service, I don’t want to worry that part of the cost goes toward lawyer fees. I also wouldn’t want to fret that I might be sued myself. Obviously, that could end the existence of a small agency or brokerage.
REW Website Examples
We’ve included two Real Estate Webmasters example websites. The first is an older, standard template website. The second is an award-winning custom website on the Renaissance platform.
Below is the homepage for Austin Real Estate. The URL choice is a strong option for capturing hyperlocal search queries. Even better, REW has loaded the homepage with relevant textual content, an important practice that many website builders overlook.
It’s not a gorgeous website, but the aesthetics are nice enough. The navigation and internal linking are also nice.
If you check out the SEO metrics below, you’ll see that Google loves this website. That’s a special credit to REW because Austin real estate is competitive from an SEO standpoint.
This website attracts a minimum of 15,000 visitors per month, which is flat-out exceptional.
It’s not clear how long REW has been in charge of this site, but the URL has been generating this kind of traffic since at least 2015.
Below you’ll find an example listing webpage for a specific Austin community. In my opinion, the IDX map leaves much to be desired. It’s difficult to navigate by virtue of its banner-style layout. Otherwise the UX looks quite nice.
Finally, check out the top webpages by traffic. As you can see, 80% of the top-ranking pages and over 95% of traffic comes from pages targeting hyperlocal searches. It’s more than fair to say that REW has built an absolute lead-generation machine for their client.
By harnessing the power of organic lead generation, Austin Real Estate is surely generating an enormous quantity of qualified leads. They probably do not need many custom changes to the website. It’s an ideal example of an SEO-focused website that must deliver an exceptional ROI.
REW won the Gold Award at the 2022 Muse Creative Design competition for their work on West + Main Homes. With 9 offices across Colorado, Oregon, and Oklahoma, they are no small agency.
Check out the clean and beautiful layout of the homepage below.
This branding website also enjoys relative SEO success. I say relative because it’s clear from the backlink structures and amount of custom work that the suite of three West + Main websites was pricey.
According to Ahrefs, the Colorado website generates 1500 visitors a month, which is great. The Oklahoma site produces about 150 visitors a month, and the Oregon site gets 12 visitors.
Since the latter two examples are relatively fresh branding websites, there’s nothing wrong with these numbers. But for example, my own company can perform at the Colorado site level or better for significantly less money.
For a great example, you can read our SEO case study on a BrandMaster luxury website.
I know this because our starter monthly SEO campaign costs less than REW’s monthly licensing fees, which for West + Main are at least $1000/month. From there, West + Main likely paid $200/hour for custom SEO work. InboundREM doesn’t charge licensing fees because our clients own their websites.
Real Estate Webmasters vs Real Geeks
For whatever reason, many people search Google for a comparison of REW and Real Geeks. The companies are very different in their offerings, pricing, and target clients.
If you found this article by searching for a comparison between the two, you probably need some education on your options in the real estate website market.
Real Geeks provides inexpensive template websites designed to drive leads through PPC. They are a decent option for small brokerages serving non-luxury markets. At $500, the setup cost is 10X cheaper than REW. The monthly licensing fees are 2-4X cheaper.
Typically, you might hire Real Geeks if you want to get your toes wet with a real estate website, but don’t want to overcommit on your budget.
- If you want a cheap template website to drive PPC leads, consider either Real Geeks or Easy Agent Pro.
- If you need options for a larger-budget custom branding site, consider Agent Image or Luxury Presence.
- If you’re after a larger-budget lead generation website, consider BoomTown.
- For website providers with amazing SEO and content marketing skills plus a custom branded site, consider InboundREM or Real Estate Webmasters.
REW vs InboundREM
REW and IREM share the space of building and managing proven SEO-focused websites with an option for a custom build. Please read our case studies for both template and custom builds.
In my opinion, the decision between the two is quite simple and comes down to team size. InboundREM is better for small to medium teams, while REW is a stronger option for large teams and enterprise clients.
The reason we are a wiser choice for smaller teams is not only a matter of budget.
Because I believe you shouldn’t lease a website you paid to build, my clients own their websites and all of the content. Because our client retention is fantastic, our contracts don’t have any breakage fees. Additionally, our contracts are 18 months long instead of 36 months.
Finally, we have a perfect 5-star review rating across multiple platforms and zero negative reviews at the time of this writing. In fact, we ONLY have 5-star reviews.
If you’re serious about becoming a client, schedule a consultation with me below. If you’d like more information, use the contact form.
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